Hempen Jig

"Dancing the Hempen Jig" was the punishment for pirates caught and convicted of their crimes. The "hempen jig" was the dance of death at the end of the hangman's hemp rope. Pirates often joked about being executed, and for most pirates the everyday dangers of life at sea were more of a hazard than the hangman. Relatively few were brought to justice, and even those found guilty were often pardoned.

For privateers, capture meant only imprisonment, with the possibility of freedom in an exchange of prisoners. But many privateers feared prison; gaols were disease-ridden places form which many never returned.

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